Thoughts on latin… I mean baptism:

I LOVE baptism.  I do.  I loved watching the teens in my husband’s youth group be baptized… I loved seeing my nephews and nieces take that step in their faith.   I’m zealous that they NOT be baptized until they ARE changed by the Holy Spirit. Until they are ready to turn over the reins to Him. 

I hate baptisms that are done because other members of my family got baptized and they got all sorts of attention.. I think I’d like that, because all my friends are doing it or because it’s the best way to get close to this girl that I like in youth group, or because it will give me some sort of bargaining chip with God.  Or because it will make my life better… it’s a lucky charm like Bible reading that will make my day go better if I read it (may be true, but lousy reason to read it… do I sound like a perfectionist yet?) 

I’m at least this picky about the Lord’s supper.  But I partake of the that when it is appropriate for me to do so.  But somehow, I have not yet experienced the aforementioned ordinance.

Why not?  Mainly because I DON’T want to do it for the wrong reasons.  I want baptism to stay holy and pure.  Not tainted by my incorrect motives.

Okay, so if I were terribly honest, I’d confess to refusing the idea of baptism for many of my earlier years solely because I hate getting my head under water unless it’s my idea and I have the power to IMMEDIATELY withdraw it from said water and inhale.

Yes, my pastors would drown me!  It’s a totally RATIONAL fear.

You have to understand that I’ve had two C-sections and both times the worst thing (IV’s come second!) about them was the OXYGEN MASK.  HELLO!  SOMETHING’S OBSTRUCTING MY BREATHING!!! HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO GET OXYGEN WITH THIS OXYGEN MASK IN THE ROAD!!! GET IT OFF!! Actually, there wasn’t any yelling, just a small heart rate spike and a polite, if rather shaky request that it be removed.  {shudder}.  I can pretend to be brave if there isn’t another option AND I know that an ending point is pending… pretend.

I like to breathe.  I have a totally non-problematic case of asthma (don’t even carry an inhaler… no meds… just keep tabs on my lungs and slow down when I need to… now if I returned to HS volleyball pre season practice, the inhaler would probably be a necessity again.  As it would if I suddenly took interest in singing opera.  Weather wreaks havoc too, so if I’m moving really slowly and calmly on a humid day rather than being my normal manic self, now you know why.) Add to that an episode of near death in the eyes of a, what… second grader?  If you question the validity of a second grader’s ability to ascertain near death versus non-serious problem, the fact my ‘rescuers’ kind of laughed when they told me I just needed to stand up might solve that for you.  Now, I LOVE the water… I love swimming, I enjoy boat rides when I can get them, but I STILL HATE getting my head underwater.  No dunking!  And I’ll even add the corollary that If you’re  small child riding my back so I can be your pretend porpoise/dolphin, keep your hands OFF my head or I may throw you off out of a warped sense of self preservation.   (sorry Melody… or was that Carmen?)

Now that you understand where my paranoia comes from (yeah, I STILL don’t get it either.) I will say, this is probably still a major factor for me.  Nevertheless, I have found myself for the last several years discussing baptism with my husband and other people for a different reason.  Now that I’m convinced that I’ll actually LIVE through the process of being DUNKED… I have another question.   Everyone I’ve spoken with answers my question with a yes.  What’s my question?

Is there any point to being baptized this late in the game?

I mean, God’s done some amazing things in my life!  I’ve already identified with Him in numerous ways.  I’ve already shown my ‘identification’ to others, so that is no longer a valid reason.  And, if baptism is designed as a symbol of my repentance and identification with Christ, then doesn’t using that symbol this long after the fact kind of demean it? 

Does it demean all that God’s done in my life up to now?

So today, Pastor Chad answers my question the same way everyone else has: Yes.  There is a point.  It’s a command.  Not demeaning.  Obedience.  And obedience is the only answer so far that has no argument. 

Okay, okay… but is the command relevant to my lif….  Wait.

Is the command for my genera…. Uh..

I don’t feel driven by God to do this…

Well, many days I don’t feel driven by God to be patient, either.  Sometimes maybe you just obey for obedience’s sake.   Besides, the fact that I’ve been hovering on this topic for several years now might be an indication that God IS driving me towards it.

Um… Yeah.

Okay. Command.  

Forget that this is not at all baptism as it was MEANT to be… following QUICKLY on the heels of the transformation… (remember the Ethiopian Eunich?… every OTHER Biblical instance… I want my baptism to be like theirs, "Wow! I’m so excited that I’m saved!! I want to show the world right away!" That initial THIS is how I’m going to show the world I’m a Christian now is no longer really the point of it.  Now it’s an ‘after the fact’.  That stinks.)

So on the way home, I ask my husband: Honey, if you follow a command out of obedience, but you still think it’s pointless, does that count?

If I go out and am baptized solely because it’s ‘the right thing to do’…. Is it enough?  Or is that even more demeaning to the symbol than doing it ‘too late’.   Worse than not doing it at all?

And if I can’t obey a command that seems pointless to me when it comes from the Almighty God, then why should I EVER expect obedience from my kids when they think MY rules are pointless?

So, okay.. get baptized.  Don the little floaty wings and a snorkel, maybe a life vest in case they push me down and suddenly start discussing hymns for next week and forget {the fact that this was supposed to be humorous and STILL makes me shudder is a little disturbing}… call the ambulance to be on stand-by, give up control of my balance to someone else for, like, a whole minute.  (I freak out in snow caves too… go ahead, shake your head… it’s not as if I don’t know just how senseless these fears are.)

But it would be great if I could take on these adventures cheerfully.  Joyfully. 

Because as I keep telling my children, I don’t just want them to obey, I want them to obey with a good attitude.

And that?

That’s always the toughest part.